In Their Words: Yiluan Song

Name: Yiluan Songshuchen-zhao-eileenbrooks-2019.jpeg

Department: Environmental Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? Hammett Fellowship Award in Environmental Studies and the Regent’s Fellowship since my enrollment in UCSC.

What year are you? 1st Year

College: PhD

Where do you call home? China

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? I’m extremely attracted by the interdisciplinary focus of the environmental studies PhD program, the wide range of expertise of the faculty, and the close collaboration of different departments.

What is your field of focus? Quantitative ecology

What does this scholarship/award mean to you?
This is my first awarded grant proposal since I started my PhD program. This is a great honor for me and increases my confidence for future scholarship applications. The financial aid will not only support my research in the summer of 2019 but will also help me develop my PhD thesis focusing on the effects of global changes on plant phenology.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I hope to pursue a career in academia, as a postdoctoral researcher and then a faculty member in a university.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? When I presented the preliminary results of my research at the 9th Biennial UC Santa Cruz Plant Science Symposium, I received many valuable comments and a lot of support from faculty and students from various departments. 

Research Project Description: Phenology, the timing of recurring biological activities, is sensitive to climate change. Warming has led to shifts in plant phenology, such as earlier leaf-out in spring and delayed senescence in autumn. Deviations from the previously finely-tuned timings may lead to a mismatch between the plants and their environment, thereby altering biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In this project, I aim to evaluate how plant phenology keeps pace with climate change using the metric of velocity of change, which integrates the spatial distributions and temporal dynamics of phenology and climate. I will also study how the risks of phenological mismatch differ by area, land cover type, and time. Findings from this study will not only demonstrate the impact of climate change from a novel spatio-temporal perspective, but also help us anticipate and mitigate the negative impacts of the future phenological mismatch due to climate change. This project will be a collaborative effort between Dr. Kai Zhu’s quantitative ecology lab and Prof. Raquel Prado’s Bayesian statistics group.

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